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Our Position on Affirmative Action
Conservativity has mentioned the issue of Affirmative Action several times in many articles. In our history of a little more than a year, we have opined that some level of this may be needed. Now, we set forth our detailed position on this subject, for all to read. Comments may be directed to us at editor <at> conservativity.com (we intentionally obfuscate our address in order to protect us from spammers).
Defining Affirmative Action
"Affirmative Action is, in essence, preferring one group over another in order to remedy past transgressions. When we conservatives decry Affirmative Action, we say it is legally-enshrined reverse racism. We’re technically correct."
Affirmative Action is, in essence, preferring one group over another in order to remedy past transgressions. When we conservatives decry Affirmative Action (we’ll call it "AA" from now on), we say it is legally-enshrined reverse racism. We’re technically correct. It’s also state-sponsored rapine / revenge / retribution, or as its proponents may argue, restitution. Now, if we were using affirmative action to assist newly-freed slaves to get equal access to education, government contracts or jobs, that would be one thing. However, we are 141 years removed from the end of the Civil War. At best, we are granting special rights to the great-great-grandchildren of newly-freed slaves. Slavery was the greatest evil in which the United States has ever engaged. However, we are not required to do penance for it for centuries.
Is AA racism? In effect, yes. In intent, no. I cannot say with certainty that the Left created AA as a method to enshrine racism. However, that is the effect from many perspectives. Now, I am not talking about Bakke-esque reverse racism ("reverse" racism is a nonsequitor; racism is racism no matter who the discriminator or the discriminatee are). AA is typically implemented as it is in Chicago: All city contracts must contain have at least 25% of the money flowing to minority- and/or female-owned businesses. Needless to say, this law creates corruption; one person was recently convicted in a high-profile case for using his mother as a surrogate owner of his white male owned company. But I digress.
In schools, AA typically causes the school to set quotas: X percent black, X percent female, X percent Asian. If their normal standards do not produce this result, qualified white, male or others will be denied admission in favor of less qualified or technically unqualified people from the group whose targeted representation falls short. This manifestly discriminates against the rejected qualified applicants. Moreover, this is exacerbated when qualified applicants from the target groups exceed goals, since the school will typically not exclude those qualified "minority" candidates in favor of the white, male or other "majority" group that is targeted. Therefore, AA is a double standard, designed to slap at the "majority" whichever way the statistics fall.
Conservativity defines affirmative action as state-endorsed racial discrimination designed to equalize past injustices.
Benefits of Affirmative Action
"Those who promote AA note that minority children get the shaft early in life. This is undoubtedly true. But it must be noted that the cause of this inequity was neither slavery nor the evil racism that viciously punished the blacks during Reconstruction for nearly 100 years."
Those who promote AA note that minority children get the shaft early in life. This is undoubtedly true. But it must be noted that the cause of this inequity was neither slavery nor the evil racism that viciously punished the blacks during Reconstruction for nearly 100 years. It is a shameful thing that it took until the late 1940s for the United States to attack and eventually outlaw institutional racism. Were it not for Presidents Truman through Kennedy, and the Republicans in the Congress that partnered with them to pass the Civil Rights acts over Democratic screams, we’d be still dealing with this evil (I acknowledge that Lyndon Johnson signed some acts, but these acts were not his legacy but those of John F. Kennedy).
However, the reasons that minority kids get lousy educations are the teachers’ unions and the horribly-misguided "War on Poverty" launched by Lyndon Johnson. Teachers’ unions used labor laws to get deals that make it nearly impossible to rid the system of subpar teachers. The "War on Poverty" threw money at the poor in such a way that traditional families were dismantled. The "War on Poverty" created high-rise ghettos of despair, and in so doing, created the modern gang system. Kids were taught to be hopeless, non-industrious and unmotivated. This makes those who learn to be industrious and succeed in a lawful manner are the rare exception. President Bush, in the 2000 debates, referred to this horror as the "soft bigotry of low expectations." What an understatement!
AA helps those people who have desire and industry to have a real shot at the American Dream. The education system fails those people, the welfare system reduces those who are motivated to succeed, the leftist "you cannot succeed on your own" philosophy that the welfare system embodies drains away hope and individualism. This has been shown to be true. Until we get at the root at the problem, found in this hopelessness, the ghettos (which are thankfully now in the process of being dismantled), and the financial incentives to make dysfunctional families, AA is necessary to help combat the hard bigotry of Liberal patricianism.
Adverse Effects of Affirmative Action
"AA is racism as I have discussed ante. Instead of being focused on equal opportunity, it is focused on the statistically and morally deficient premise of equal results."
AA is racism as I have discussed ante. Instead of being focused on equal opportunity, it is focused on the statistically and morally deficient premise of equal results. The racial makeup of every college does not have to precisely match the racial makeup of the college’s state or country in order to be granting equal opportuniry. The Left often criticizes conservatives for being absolutist; but equal results is an absolutist policy if ever one existed. AA is not equal opportunity, it is the unequal opportunity wolf in sheep’s clothing.
AA also allows the Left to perpetuate the mediocrity that pervades elementary and secondary education, by mollifying the teachers’ unions that constitute a large part of the Democratic party base. It allows the Left to appear as if they are doing something to ensure equal education opportunity, while simultaneously fighting vouchers, teacher accountability and any other thing that does not promote their constituency of unionized teachers. The one teacher accountability bill that was passed is fairly toothless. It is no surprise, since it was authored by Ted Kennedy. And that "accountability" is causing teachers who cannot work with students to "dump off" all but their best performers into the special education system. This result shows more lack of equal opportunity.
Worse, AA perpetuates racism itself. AA perpetuates the notion that those who are members of some "minority" or another are unable to be self-sufficient. The Left argues that these people are not self-sufficient because of racism. They are correct; the racism of the Left is made manifest by their assumption that "minorities" cannot succeed without external help. AA is the ultimate manifestation of that morally defective premise.
Affirmative Action as the Never Ending Program
"The Supreme Court has already held that Affirmative Action should not be permanent. The Left pretends to endorse this holding, while simultaneously carping that end of AA is so far off as to be unforseeable. The Right embraces this holding, eager to end all AA instantly."
The Supreme Court has already held that Affirmative Action should not be permanent. The Left pretends to endorse this holding, while simultaneously carping that end of AA is so far off as to be unforseeable. The Right embraces this holding, eager to end all AA instantly. Without meaning to sound like a moderate (Rush is right when he calls a moderate a wishywashy liberal), the correct action is between these extremes. With decisive Congressional action, we could be rid of AA within five to ten years.
However, AA is a lynchpin of the Democratic party. They use it in order to avoid decisions that could separate the teachers’ unions from its constituency. The extreme Left will fight tooth and nail against any attempt to outlaw AA. The Supreme Court is unlikely, in the light of past decisions, to hold it to be repugnant to the Constitution, although it is indeed so. So we have an uphill political fight on this subject.
There is no never-ending need for AA. We cannot allow it to become the Never-Ending Program. We can fix the problems. We can remove the last vestiges of governmental sponsorship of illegitimacy in welfare programs. We can alter the accountability laws in a way that protects the students from teachers that don’t care. We can implement voucher programs and effectively transfer kids from government run schools to private schools that will have to compete for the voucher money, and will excel in order to earn the students.
"Affirmative Action is a bad solution to a real problem. It’s a band-aid on a cancer."
Affirmative Action is a bad solution to a real problem. It’s a band-aid on a cancer. The cancer is rooted in the "low expectations" that President Bush mentioned in 2000. The school system must be overhauled; alternatives must be encouraged. The desperation of state-perpetuated poverty must be eliminated. We must move to the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we celebrate today, and judge people "not on the color of their skin but the content of their character."
We can do this in a small number of years, with commitment and unity. Until then, there is a need for limited affirmative action, in education only, to assist those who are truly motivated to excel to get an education to go hand in hand with their industry to succeed.